Naomi Dawn Musch

Northwoods Fiction, Faith, and Family


Features book exams, forays into novel writing, editing, publishing, and book love.

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Jennifer Slattery: Drawing Nearer To Our Children's Hearts Through Creation Walks

Posted by naomidawnmusch on August 5, 2014 at 8:00 AM Comments comments (0)

This week, Write Reason welcomes Jennifer Slattery as she talks about the command of intentional parenting and introduces us to her upcoming novel, Beyond I Do. Jennifer writes Missional Romance for New Hope Publishers, a publishing house passionate about bringing God’s healing grace and truth to the hopeless. Her debut novel, Beyond I Do, is currently available for preorder at a 26% off discount. You can find it HERE. Jennifer also blogs at JenniferSlatteryLivesOutLoud


Drawing Nearer To Our Children's Hearts Through Creation Walks

I’m not a fan of parenting horror stories. My what-if brain doesn’t need any help. What I need to hear, rather, is not what can or has gone wrong but rather, what I can do to parent well.  


Though I know there’s no guarantees when it comes to children, I’ve learned every story goes haywire when left on its own. But one that’s crafted with love, patience, consistency, and truth? Now those are the kind of stories memories are made of. 


If you’re a parent, you’re probably familiar with Deuteronomy 6:6-9:


“These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates” (NLT).


This passage is more than a command. It’s an invitation to draw near to our children on a heart-to-heart level as we share the deepest part of who we are—our faith. It is an invitation to connect, to explore, and to rest in our relationship in the hands of our Father.


When our daughter was young, we spent hours strolling through the neighborhood, hand in hand, crunching fallen leaves, and picking flowers. Everything enchanted her and evoked innumerable questions.


As she explored God’s creation, I used the opportunity to introduce her to the Creator. We talked about the different colors before us. I told her of God’s love displayed in each chirping robin and fragrant flower. Her eyes would light up with childlike wonder, and her gaze would drift to the sky.

She’s sixteen now, and while many of her peers are pulling away from their parents, she and I continue to enjoy long, leisurely strolls. They’re cherished times between her and I. Times where she unveils her heart and shares some of her deepest dreams and fears. And like when she was a toddler, it isn’t long before our conversation turns spiritual. For us, talking about God comes naturally. It’s part of our relationship’s DNA.


Fourteen years ago, I had no idea what a beautiful tradition our creation walks would start. Not only have these special moments strengthened her faith; they’ve melded our hearts together as well.


Beyond I Do:

Marriage . . . it’s more than a happily ever after. Eternally more. Ainsley Meadow’s encounter with a woman, her child, and their abuser sparks a passion that threatens her engagement. Will seeing beyond the present unite her and her fiancé or tear them apart? Raised by a hedonist mother, who cycles through jobs and relationships like wrapping paper on Christmas morning, Ainsley falls into a predictable and safe relationship with Richard, a self-absorbed socialite psychiatrist. But as her wedding nears, a battered woman and her child spark a long-forgotten dream and ignites a hidden passion. One that threatens to change everything, including her fiancé. To embrace God’s best and find true love, this security-seeking bride must follow God with reckless abandon and realize that marriage goes Beyond I Do.


Beyond I Do is available for preorder at a 26% off discount. Visit with Jennifer online at JenniferSlatteryLivesOutLoud.


4 Lessons the Series "24" Can Teach Writers

Posted by naomidawnmusch on July 21, 2014 at 7:55 AM Comments comments (0)

One of most writers' favorite pastimes is studying the craft via favorite novels and movies. We admire the way one author plots twists and turns, the way another builds romantic tension, the way a third suspends our belief against the impossible. Movies and television dramas offer mini-courses in these how-to's. One of those is the Fox television series 24, which is a must-watch for anyone who wants to improve their skill at heightening conflict in their stories -- no matter which genre you write in.

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Have you ever been told or sensed that your story doesn’t hold enough conflict? Have you ever had difficulty determining your protagonist's black, blacker, or blackest moments? Have you even thought there could be so many dark moments?

Here are the Lessons Capsulated in 24

24 is a thriller, and while not every genre flies ahead with such non-stop tension and breakneck pacing, there is a lot to be learned from a story that manages to accomplish it so nearly flawlessly.

First, the show always starts in the moment. There is no slow, melodramatic build-up in 24. Based on the idea of each episode being one hour of a 24 hour day, the kick-off happens in the first moments, and the first hour-long episode steamrolls ahead. Even if the genre you write is a gentle romance, something has to happen right away, there has to be that opening moment, that emotional ignition switch, which will generate greater conflict with each scene. 

Second, things always get worse. One problem for Jack Bauer or the nation isn't necessarily solved before another occurs. It isn't enough that Jack might be leaping across the tops of buildings in a race against pursuers to rescue the president from an assassination attempt (BAM!), he is usually simultaneously in phone conversation with tech wizard pal Chloe averting a terrorist attack on a major metropolitan area (BAM! BAM!) and planning the demise of an international criminal who kidnapped or murdered his friend (BAM! BAM! BAM!). I believe that with every element written in the script, the writers of 24 sit back and say to each other, "Before we go on, what will make this situation worse?" And they hold nothing back. As a result, there is no knowing who will live, who will die, who will turn traitor, who will regret their choice too late, or which way the plot will twist.

Third, every character has back story. It isn't tossed at us up front, but we learn that every player has emotional stakes, something in his life now or from his past that will give his or her decisions greater impact and lend even more tension to the unfolding drama. What gives Kate such courage? She's a widow, whose husband died in prison after being condemned for being a traitor -- which, it turns out -- he wasn't. Why does Mark give bad policy advice to the president (which endangers everyone) and make rash decisions outside his given authority? Not because he's bad at his job or wants to dishonor the president, but because he's terribly jealous of Jack's previous relationship with his wife Audrey (the president's daughter) who married Mark when she thought Jack was dead. He knows Audrey still cares for Jack more than she will admit, and that Jack is willing to die for her.

Fourth, there are no loose ends except for one. Every character's situation is resolved, even if it isn't. Say what? We are given conclusions -- not happily ever after conclusions -- but we see where each character is heading at the end of the 24 hour period. The package is tied up, but not neatly. This one is sent to prison, that one to retirement, another to an unmarked grave... Even Jack Bauer, who never gets a happy ending, moves on -- to another season, we hope. His role is the only one we're left wondering about. We can see what he's facing (he might be off to self-exile one season or imprisonment and torture the next) but we don't know what the outcome will be. Yet, the writers of 24 have made us believe that Jack will overcome -- somehow -- even though the scars will be deep. 

We are satisfied, even while we are left yearning for another chapter, another chance to "Live Another Day".

24 is a brutal series. If you're squeamish when it comes to television, you might have trouble with it. But if you can handle high tension and fast-paced action, you can learn a lot about what it takes to create greater conflict for your characters. Writers should watch.


Click on cover to learn more!


Blog Hop! Beauty & The Beast Re-Imagined

Posted by naomidawnmusch on June 4, 2014 at 3:15 PM Comments comments (0)

I've severely neglected my own blog lately in lieu of doing some group blogs. So what better way to kick-start it again than to be part of a Blog Hop? I'm excited to have been invited by Marcy Dyer to join in and answer a few questions about what I write, how it's different, and some insight into my writing process. Please stop back at her blog and see what she had to say about these things as well.

Also, after the interview, I'll be introducing several fellow authors who have books worth checking into. The beauty of a blog hop is to help YOU discover new authors and titles waiting to take you on an exciting adventure.

Without further ado, here we go!

What am I working on?

I'm in various stages of several projects, but my main focus is on a post WWII romance called The Love Coward. Don't you love the title? It's about a man with commitment issues who jilts his girl at the altar leaving her burned once too often. Then there's his best war buddy who's turned up for the wedding-that-didn't-happen and is still hanging around town, and her closest childhood friend who'd like to be something more. Which one is the love coward? That answer is being revealed to me as I write. I love the process and the revelations that unfold!

How does my work differ from others?

I'm going to use that question to specifically address my new release, TREVELYAN - A Tale of Beauty & the Beast, because you might wonder, Why another re-telling of a fairytale that's been told so many times over? The answer is because the original children's versions left me unsatisfied. I know Disney came out with their big epic, yeah, yeah... But according to my historical research, the original 1600s French version contained a story of warring faeries, and Belle was one of 12 siblings. How epic is that! I decided that there was plenty of room to tell a broader fairytale while remaining true to the original story. What were the roles of Belle's siblings (of which she has five in my version)? Who were these warring faeries, and why did they fight? What other unimaginable creatures might have existed in a lost kingdom? Why were Belle's sisters jealous of her and what of their own romances? I felt these were just a few of the questions that needed to be answered. Besides that, the story needed an elven touch.

Why do I write what I write?

I wrote Trevelyan in order to fulfill my own desire for a more satisfactory completeness to be given to the story and to entertain my kids. Usually I write historical fiction (of which Trevelyan isn't actually, but the setting is somewhat medieval). I write historicals because I love to imagine what it might have actually been like to experience life, romance, and adventure in the context of different time periods and events.

How does my writing process work?

I am by-and-large a "plotter" meaning I use outlines and synopses of scenes to build my story. This is as opposed to someone who is a "panster", meaning they just sit down to write and let the story unfold as they think of it. Truthfully, most of us are a little of both. I enjoy studying story structure, so I like to think of those parts of the story that show major turning points, and then the under-girding scenes that string those events together. I usually begin with a very skeletal 15 point outline that shows these events. In between all this, I study history, searching for key moments, events, and bits and pieces that can be included to enrich the story. I consider at the beginning what the main characters' physical, spiritual, and emotional goals are, and what occurrences will interfere with the characters attaining them. Usually through this process, and while I write, themes will emerge which I can then go back afterward and capitalize upon, if it can be done subtly. I write fairly slowly. Some days I accomplish great chunks of 3000-4000 words. Sometimes I go a couple of weeks with very little. I usually write in the morning, but I allow real life and loves to dictate whether or not I can stick to that schedule.

Thanks for stopping by on the hop! Here are more authors and books I'd love to tell you about. 

Katie Mettner

Katie Mettner grew up in Eau Claire, Wisconsin and moved to the Northwoods where she now resides with her husband and three children. Katie writes spicy Christian romance and is the author of The Sugar series and The Northern Lights series. Her stories are a reflection of her love for family, intricately woven with life experience. When the gales of November blow early you can find her at the computer with a cup of joe working on her next adventure.


Psalm 23: Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death…..
A lifetime ago Grant Harris was an Australian surfer at the top of his sport, until one wave changed everything. Fifteen years later, Grant has become bitter, lonely, and disillusioned. Hoping to jump start his career he accepts a position in Duluth Minnesota, with no way of knowing how quickly his life was about to change.
A lifetime ago Carla Coffers was a runaway teen with no family, no money and no hope for a future. Fifteen years later, she’s a successful business woman as owner of Carla's Kinky Café, on beautiful Lake Superior. Her friends think she’s got it all, but Carla still yearns for the one thing she never had.
A cup of coffee, a car, a confession and a cross come together to grant them redemption from their past and hope for the future. 

 Learn more about her work at:

Susan Braun

Susan Braun has been writing since childhood, but began pursuing it seriously about three years ago with a memoir of growing up Baptist in a small town, called  I Love to Tell the Story. She was inspired to write this book as a way of passing along memories in a humorous way to her three girls, but she found that writing was addictive. Her experience as an elementary teacher led her to write for children: two Christian beginning reader chapter books, a biography of "Mad" King Ludwig for teens, and a biography of Kate Middleton for elementary and middle school students. All of Susan's books can be purchased at Amazon.

She blogs at Girls in White Dresses, where she keeps her writing sharp by sharing "a few of my favorite things" each weekday. You can also keep up with Susan's writing through her Facebook page.

Is it possible to emerge unscathed from an evangelical upbringing? Yes, as surely as David slew Goliath!

I Love to Tell the Story is Susan Barnett Braun’s account of growing up Baptist in a small midwestern town, touching on many cultural icons common to those who came of age in the 1970s. Braun recounts childhood obstacles, which loom as large as the walls of Jericho in her eyes. She encounters a trio of Sunday school mean girls who make King Herod look tame. She worries about being “ugly as sin” due to her chubbiness, glasses, and braces. She’s so consumed with the idea of Jesus’ imminent return that she wonders whether it’s even worthwhile to brush her teeth at night.

Humorous, poignant, and ultimately triumphant, I Love to Tell the Story will stay with readers long after the last Vacation Bible School craft stick cross has fallen apart. 

Tommie Lyn


Tommie Lyn has made her home in the beautiful Florida panhandle for over 39 years. Her husband of 51 years (who was her high school sweetheart) retired from the Navy after being transferred here from Okinawa in 1975. Five of her novels and some of her short stories are set in the panhandle.


An avid reader since childhood, she began writing fiction eight years ago and writes short stories and novels in a variety of genres: historical, mystery/suspense, supernatural thriller and mainstream fiction.


Ten of her novels are available in print and ebook format for purchase from, and other online book retailers.

Find her at Tommie Lyn Writes.

A boy with dreams of adventure…a girl with a traumatic past…and a prince determined to take a throne… 

Ailean MacLachlainn, the son of a poor crofter in Scotland’s highlands, wants a life of adventure. He often daydreams of being a respected warrior of his clan. And he battles rival Latharn Cambeul in the game of camanachd…and wins. But Ailean meets a girl, and a shy smile and a glance from Mùirne's blue eyes turns his head. He wins her love, and his rivalry with Latharn is no longer a game with a camanachd stick, now they fight with swords. 

Ailean gets his wish to become a warrior when Bonnie Prince Charlie comes to raise a Highland army in the attempt to retake his father’s throne. Ailean’s clan chief involves his clan in the uprising, and sets Ailean on a course toward a destiny he could never have forseen. 

What happens when a man’s dreams turn to dust? And when a man loses everything, does he have what it takes to go on? 

HIGH ON A MOUNTAIN is the stirring tale of one man’s remarkable journey through life. A story of adventure and love…of faith, loss, and redemption.


High on a Mountain is currently free as an ebook on Amazon and other online book retailers.

Thanksgiving, Venison, and Writing

Posted by naomidawnmusch on November 28, 2013 at 5:00 AM Comments comments (0)

Thank you, Lord, for the White Tail Deer! Thanksgiving celebrations may vary from home to home, but here in Wisconsin, the holiday lands smack dab in the middle of deer hunting season. That means many of us don't spend the day lounging and dining, but bundled to the hilt, stalking through the forest in pursuit of the elusive monarch of the forest, the white-tailed deer.

One of my hunters, son Beau

In our household, like so many others around the state, besides family, friends filling the house, and mountains of pies crowding the counter tops, there are also piles of blaze orange strewn everywhere! Dinner isn’t served until an hour and a half past dark, giving time for all the hunters to come in from the cold and tell their tales as they gather around the wood fire to thaw out. We LOVE it!

This is how I grew up. I couldn't imagine spending Thanksgiving any other way. Then throughout the year to follow, we thank the Lord for the good meat filling our freezer and canning jars if we are so blessed.

Hunting sometimes works its way into my books. It's one of the ways in which the writerly adage of "writing what you know" eeks out of me. I love to write about the outdoors and to help readers experience the smell of fauna or the sound of a deer crunching with delicate steps through the frozen leaf floor of the forest. I love to thrill them with the sound of soft wings as a grouse flushes and arcs through the tree tops. I love the way a chickadee will land on a branch near your head and converse, or even the pestering of a noisy squirrel chattering warnings in the woods.

There's a short, romantic hunting scene near the end of this story. YES, hunting can be very romantic! My proof is one of those writing-what-I-know incidences *eyebrow-wiggle*. Click on the cover to find out more.

I don't like how cold I get sitting in a deer stand some mornings, but it's always a challenge and a chance to get alone with God and to let my imagination take flight.

How does your family celebrate Thanksgiving? With football and board games, or are you a family of hunters too? Whatever you do, I hope you have a safe and blessed Thanksgiving!

Write on!

Wounded Writing

Posted by naomidawnmusch on November 18, 2013 at 5:55 AM Comments comments (0)

So you want to be a writer? Be careful what you wish for. The best writing often comes from wounded places. 

C.S Lewis said, "If you want a religion to make you feel really comfortable, I certainly don't recommend Christianity." 

Was he really suggesting people shouldn't come to faith in Christ? No, he was pointing out that God would not act as a fairy godfather, but he would refine them if they gave themselves to him. If you want to be a writer, expect more of the same discomfort, because God will ask you to use your pen to minister grace through the experience of your own struggles.


I don't believe God is the author of pain, death, sorrow, heartache, fear, rejection, illness, or loss... Those things came from Satan when he introduced us to sin way back in Eden. 

Because we live in this fallen world, we experience them. I do believe God allows his children to experience them in a different way, a way that will glorify Him if we surrender our wills and let him use those things that come our way to build our personal "character arc". 

So what does this have to do with being a writer? As writers we spend a lot of our time learning to "live" in our characters' skins. We feel for them and speak for them. How much better do we understand them if we have been through what they're going through or something like it. It's one thing to write about the death of a child. It's another to have experienced the bone-aching agony of losing a loved one, and then eventually writing those feelings into the hearts of characters. Writing about infidelity, abandonment, cancer, rebellion -- and their counterparts -- faithfulness, loyalty, recovery, humility -- are better understood if we have stood on one end and walked to the other of those things. God allows us to feel the deep, wrenching level of pain those things bring so that we can write with greater understanding and empathy for those who experience them. He brings us through them so that we can write truthfully about faith and hope. Even if we are writing about fictional lives, understanding agony at that gut level can help even "characters" bring a path of healing to someone who reads their story.


Writing is another way of acting out 2 Corinthians 1:3-4. "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God."


I've been comforted through the expertise of other fiction writers. Have you? What must they have experienced to help me so connect to their words?

Another C.S. Lewis quote if you don't mind:

"No one ever told me that grief felt so like fear." 


If God allows you to walk the path of grief, you understand what that feeling he describes -- a feeling you can show in your stories. You can imbue your writing with a truer understanding.


Grief, pain, and heartache have a magnetic power to suck us into very dark places which seem to hold no escape. Why let those experiences exist solely as painful memories? If we desire to write, we have an obligation to use the character arc of our lives to tell stories that resonate, that have the power to supply healing and grace to the glory of God.

Write on.

What?! There are Novel-Writing Rules?

Posted by naomidawnmusch on November 8, 2013 at 5:30 AM Comments comments (1)

I've been enjoying NaNoWrito even though I'm having a tough time staying on task. But today I saw a thread discussion on rule breaking. What? There are rules?

I've learned though, that with NaNo, most rules are self-imposed. In the rest of the novel-writing world, however, there are real rules, but even when it comes to those, I'm reminded of a sentence my dad helped me construct during a third grade spelling homework assignment: Rules are made to be broken. Not original, but I liked it in third grade. It resonated with me even though my teacher put a big red question mark next to it -- or was it a frowny face? Hmm...

We study our craft to learn the art form and the rules. Publishers have rules. Good communication follows rules. Story form follows rules. We don't start to bend or break those rules until we have conquered story and voice and form. That might take years. For some of us, rule-breaking might never become acceptable. So if you're going to be a rebel, you'd better check yourself and decide if you're ready for the backlash. Breaking rules is an art form in itself.

On the other hand, self imposed rules such as don't edit or cut anything until your first draft is finished or don't write fully fleshed scenes out of order are self-imposed rules specific to individual writers' styles. You don't have to be constrained by such orders. The way one person writes can vary greatly from the way another writes. Just jump into the age-old debate of whether Plotting or Pantsing is better (following an outline or writing by the seat of your pants). Some writers go back and edit the previous day's writing before starting on the new day's. Others only go back to check a few details before moving on.

Experimental writing, on the other hand, is by definition rule-breaking. Take those books where no quote marks are used in dialogue for instance, or those stories that use run on sentences in a first person, sort of in-your-face-rushing-past fashion. Now we have people telling us they rue the oxford comma. Oh, the shock!

There are some who can break rules, and some who shouldn't. Even good writers shouldn't always try to break out quite that way. Anyway, have fun with it. That's what I say. (And you know what an authority I -- haha!)

Get your novel written, one way or another. Fix it or don't as you go along. One way or another tie up the loose ends. Make it clean. No -- make it shine.

Write on!


Here's an Idea: Dress Up the Holidays in Your Written World

Posted by naomidawnmusch on October 24, 2013 at 7:00 AM Comments comments (0)

What are you doing to dress up the holidays in your written world? Are you working on a special Christmas book release? Hopping along on a holiday blog tour? Are you entering a few contests to try and win some swag that will fill your own tank of inspiration? Are you joining or starting a holiday book club? Will you be writing letters to family and friends or putting out a special holiday newsletter? 


What about articles? Do you write for regular periodicals, and if so, will you be sharing something special to help readers think about the true meaning and blessings of Thanksgiving or Christmas? Are you going to re-design your blog? Are you unwrapping ideas for a new novel?



Okay... enough of the questions. The point here is the approaching holidays are a great time to think about our writing in new ways. I'm not talking big changes or resolutions like we might focus on as we bring in the New Year, though we could include those, but just a way to keep ourselves inspired and fresh, and at the same time encourage one another. Let's brighten each others' holidays with a little bit of written cheer, shall we? 


I might simply change up the wallpaper on my blog for starters. What are some of your ideas?


Write on!

$3.99 on Amazon

Also available from Desert Breeze Publishing or wherever e-books are sold.

To NaNo or Not to NaNo - Thoughts on Accountability and National Novel Writing Month

Posted by naomidawnmusch on October 17, 2013 at 7:00 AM Comments comments (4)
To NaNo, or not to NaNo, that is the question. To be honest, I have deep, personal issues with accountability. I try to hold myself accountable a lot, but without outside assistance. Yes, my way is ripe for failure, or at least a lot of self-incrimination, but I consider myself fairly self-disciplined in most areas. (Just don't let's talk about dieting.) Inviting others to be aware of my accountability is something I just rather dread.

I have done the "NaNo thing" without signing up. I have used it as a guide to starting or completing projects. In fact, my latest book Paint Me Althena which just released last August, is the result of a busy November 2011. But to log in, sign on, tell the world, "I'm going to do this!" sends shivers up my noncommittal spine.

So, back to my question. To NaNo or not to Nano? Well, I did it. I braced myself, logged into the site, and filed my name among the scads of others out there to do the work. I even joined two Facebook groups to sink myself into committal a little deeper.

Now comes the decision on the project I'll write. I have two in mind. You know, you're supposed to start NaNo from scratch. I admit cheating a little here. Both novels I'm dipping into will be well over 50,000 words at their conclusions, so my goal is to log in those 50,000. This will still require a lot of further plotting and fleshing on my part, so I don't feel like it's much of a cheat. My biggest problem now is to decide which one to focus on.

November is
National Novel Writing Month.
In 30 days, 50,000 words is a novel.
Can you do it?


How about you? Are you "committing" this year? Have you done NaNoWriMo in the past? What do you think of National Novel Writing Month? I'd love to hear of your successes, failures, and future plans.

Write on!
Desert Breeze Publishing has lowered all their ebook prices, even on new releases.
Paint Me Althena is now only $3.99.

Grace Awards Showcase & Book Drawing: Celtic Knot by Tammy Doherty

Posted by naomidawnmusch on October 10, 2013 at 9:00 AM Comments comments (0)

Here's a book on my to-be-read list, a suspenseful, romantic, western historical by Tammy Doherty set around the time of the Civil War. Celtic Knot is the third and final book in her series. Please enjoy the following excerpt and character interview, and if you hop on over to Tammy's own blog (link at the bottom) and leave a comment there, you'll be entered in a drawing for a free copy of the book!


About CELTIC KNOT by Tammy Doherty


When widow Abby Finnegan meets ranch hand Kyle Lachapelle, she figures he’s as deceitful as her family. But Kyle is a Secret Service operative working undercover, and Abby has a disturbing connection to his counterfeiting case. Abby’s protecting her heart while Kyle can’t afford the feelings stirring in his. Love is out of the question…or is it the answer? 




“Look, mister,” Boone stood toe to toe with Kyle, their eyes level with one another. “I’m the law in these here parts an’ it’s my job to know about newcomers to town. An’ I ain’t partial to your wiseacre answers.”


“Well, I guess that makes us even, ‘cause I’m not partial to your lewd, nosy attitude.” Kyle held Boone’s gaze, as if daring the other man to make something of his answer.


Boone stared back, unblinking. He wouldn't back down from a stare-off. Most cowpunchers either worked for Raymond Bigelow or were just passing through Prophecy. Bigelow hands generally knew their place when it came to Boone Warren. Rambling men were naturally intimidated by Boone’s large size and the way he carried himself. This man was quite obviously not intimidated or impressed.

Tension thickened the air as each man waited for the other to back down. Abby noticed that while Boone’s gun rested in its customary place at his hip, the stranger was unarmed. If Lachapelle noted this fact he made no sign that it mattered. And though she well knew how apt Boone was with his fists, she began to wonder if perhaps this newcomer might be able to best him in a fight. She wasn’t willing to find out the answers to any of these questions.


“That’s enough,” she scolded sharply. “I’ll not have such a show of childish violence in front of my daughter.”


Even the sharpness in her voice did not break the staring match. Abby frowned and forced herself between the two men, shoving Boone backwards. He broke eye contact with Lachapelle and turned his gaze to her.


“I’m ashamed of you, Boone Warren.” Her voice was quiet, yet forceful. “You really must learn your manners.”


He dipped his head as if apologizing, but only to Abby and only for a moment. His anger was barely veiled as he looked again at Lachapelle. “Make sure you're on your best behavior when in my town. I don’t tolerate any hooliganism. Understood?”


Character Interview


Today I have the pleasure of chatting with Millie Finnigan. Millie's mother, Abby Finnigan, is the heroine of CELTIC KNOT.


Welcome, Millie. Have a cookie and tell us a little about yourself.


Millie grabs a cookie but waits to eat it. 

Hi, I'm excited to be here today. Let's see, I'm seven years old and I live with my mother in Prophecy, Colorado." She takes a bite of cookie, not talking again until she's finished chewing. "My real name is Millicent but Momma only calls me that when she's cross. I try not to make her angry 'cause she works real hard and hardly ever smiles. Momma has a pretty smile but sometimes her eyes seem to look far away and her face gets sad.


Why do you think she's sad?


It's as if she's looking at a photograph in her memory." Millie fidgets with her dress, dropping her gaze a moment before continuing. "Remembering Daddy, I think. He died when I was four. That's when we moved back to Prophecy. Momma says that Daddy called me his little blessing. I don't hardly remember him. Sometimes that makes me sad.


What makes you happy?


A smile brightens Millie's countenance. 

Playing with my best friend, Jennifer Stanton. Her pa is the town preacher an' her folks are real nice. They always treat me like family. Pastor and Mrs. Stanton worry about Momma an' me, 'cause we don't always have money for nice things. But Momma takes real good care of me.


Doesn't your grandfather own the largest ranch around Prophecy? In fact, he owns most of the town. Why doesn't your mother ask him for help?


Millie shrugs. 

Momma's family isn't very nice. I've never even met my grandfather. Once, I heard someone say that Raymond Bigelow, that's Momma's father, is so mean an d contrary he makes Satan look angelic. All's I know is my uncle Clayton is scary. He says things like teaching the whelp proper respect. That's what he calls me, the whelp

Millie shudders. 

I don't like him.


I'm sure your mother stays away from Clayton, then.


We try but Momma works at the Silver Streak Saloon, as a maid. Uncle Clayton goes there a lot and he looks for Momma. He likes being mean, an' not just to her. I can't understand why Boone is friends with him.


Who is Boone?


He's our sheriff. Boone's real nice. He always wants to buy me stuff but Momma won't let him. She says she don't want to be beholden to him." Millie scrunches her nose. "Not sure what that means. I do know Boone wants to marry Momma. He might be a nice daddy. Still, I want Momma to be happy. She never smiles for Boone, least ways, not the kind of smile she gets when Mr. Lachapelle is around.


Kyle Lachapelle? When did you meet him?


He came into the mercantile one morning when Momma was buying supplies an' things." Millie leans forward to whisper, "He likes lemon candies just like me." She sits back in the chair, speaking in her normal voice once more. "An' he stood up to Boone, didn't let anyone push him around. Later, he walked with Momma and me and he was a real gentleman. I hope he comes around more, 'cept Momma told him she don't want to be his friend. I hope she changes her mind.


I sure hope so, too. Millie, it's been a joy having you here today. Do take one of those lemon candies from the jar for later. Yes, you may take one for Jennifer as well. Thank you for visiting.


~ Purchase Links: Amazon 






About the Author


Tammy Doherty lives on a small farm in central Massachusetts with her husband and two children. A veterinary technician by training, she works for a veterinary supply distributor as well as working on the family perennial farm. Tammy is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and is a Grace Awards board member. Her three historical Christian romance novels, Celtic Cross, Claddaugh and Celtic Knot, are available in print and as eBooks. Currently she is working on contemporary romantic suspense. Visit Tammy on Facebook at, or  on her blog The Mystique of Naultag 


Don't forget to drop by Tammy's blog at the link right above

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Grace Awards Showcase: A Heart's Home by Laura J. Marshall

Posted by naomidawnmusch on October 3, 2013 at 7:00 AM Comments comments (0)

This week I'm happy to showcase Laura J. Marshall's exotic novella A Heart's Home. You may be familiar with Laura's best-selling book A Battle Cry Devotional. A Heart's Home is a Christian Historical Romance set in 1746, India. Take a look and enjoy the excerpt!


A Heart’s Home


Born in England and raised in India by her father after her mother's untimely death, Asyra has been ostracized from her small village most of her life. News of her impending marriage arranged by her grandmother back in England only serves to confuse her further about who she is and where she fits in. When Madras is attacked by the French before Asyra's ship sails, she must pretend to be the wife of her grandmother's agent, who happens to be the elder brother of her intended. Can she move beyond prejudice to find her place in the world?




Braddock sat for a long time, his head in his hands. Asyra had cleansed his forehead with the cool water. Her image had wavered as he watched her walk away and spread the blanket on the dirt floor. He heard her praying quietly, wishing he was closer to overhear. He joined her with silent prayers, for them to cast off safely from India…for Asyra…for his brother…and his own entangled heart.

He moved from the chair, almost sliding to the floor and stumbled to the bed. His head hit the hay, sharp ends digging into his face. He flipped to his back and fell into a deep sleep.

When he awoke, all was quiet in the small house. He could hear gentle snoring from Mrs. Campbell. The heat was oppressive, it clung to him and pushed him to his feet. As he straightened, he noticed Asyra awake and seated in a chair by a window at the back of the house. She had the burlap tucked up an inch and her nose stuck out the window. He grinned at the childish gesture, coughing quietly to announce his presence.

She turned, smoothing the burlap with her hand and met his gaze.

Braddock motioned to the blanket on the floor.

“Did you rest at all?”

“Yes, I slept just fine. You?”

“If I had awakened in heaven itself, I wouldn’t be surprised. I slept as if I were among the dead.”

She laughed quietly at his description, a small dimple appearing in her left cheek.  She quickly sobered as she saw Mrs. Campbell roll over.

“It looks to be late afternoon. The heat will ease.”

“We’ll be against the wind most of the way home and wishing for this heat come November.” He spoke quietly, not wishing to break the spell of time with her.

“Do you remember England at all?”

“I was but a babe. My father told me some of mother’s estate…the lush gardens and green pastures. He said there were woods so thick you could get lost.”

“It’s true. There’s an enchanting forest with its fill of plants, trees, and fauna. There’s one spot in particular, just a small path to the south of the estate that leads to a God-made haven, where honeysuckle climbs the trees and carpets the forest.”

Asyra seemed to roll this over in her mind. “It sounds beautiful….a-and what is fauna?”

“Animals native to our region….the migrant cuckoo, the roe deer.”

“I-I’m very interested in your herbs and flowers.”

“I’ll see you have books to study.” As she broke his gaze, he recalled what she had said about reading. Her eyes clouded with worry.



“I have your mother’s bible, in the bag. We’ll teach you to read before we reach England.”

“That’s a high order.”

“We can do it…together.” The word slid over his tongue and his heart responded. It expanded and seemed to hesitate in its beating. Together. He and Asyra. His eyes fell to her white teeth worrying her lip. Her soft pink lips parted. She caught his gaze and fell still.

“Th-thank you for bringing the bible.” She stood and walked to the door, taking the bucket with the white willow over to the basin and placing it on the ground. “And the willow.” She bent her head and he saw a tear fall as she took a small cup, dipped it into the pitcher, and wet its roots.

Braddock felt like the air was being squeezed from his lungs. He crossed the room and stood behind her. She barely stood as tall as his shoulder. He looked down as an ankle skimmed into view, the bells quietly jingling. It was funny how the sound had become so commonplace now, part of his days and his memories.

He touched her arm and she turned, falling forward and against his chest. He could feel her silent sobs being wrenched from her very soul. She gulped a deep breath and put her face back against him so he couldn’t see her.

“I’m here. I won’t leave you.”

“Y-y-you can’t promise me that.”

“I can and I will promise you.”





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AUTHOR BIO:  Laura J. Marshall is a full-time mom of five boys. When not on active duty, she is the best-selling author of The Battle Cry Devotional series and inspirational fiction (historical romantic suspense and contemporary romance). She operates a popular blog called The Old Stone Wall which hosts and promotes Christian and clean books and encourages interaction between authors and readers. See more at


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